The 2A division is the true definition of football; from players playing on both sides of the ball, to players scoring a touchdown and then kicking the extra point after. This year’s 2A title contenders got a little deeper with Post dropping down and a little more competitive with Canadian moving up to 3A for the next two years. Who will contend for a title? Who will surprise this fall? Who will disappoint? Here is the 806 HSSC Top 10 for 2A to start the 2016 season.
1. POST ANTELOPES
DISTRICT 4-2A DI- PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 1ST
The Antelopes are without a doubt one of the top two teams in 2A DI. We all know about AJ Escobedo, AJ Reed and Brody Kelso but be on the lookout for Michael Pherguson and Kobe Ammons this year too. When asked about his 2016 team recently, Coach Pittman stated, “We might be a lot better than last year.” That is scary to hear considering their team went undefeated for the first time since 1982 last year and had one of the best defenses in the state in 3A as well. They will see Stratford in the 2A DI Regional Semifinal for a chance to advance to the state championship game in December.
2. STRATFORD ELKS
DISTRICT 1-2A DI- PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 1ST
Stratford could have easily won the last two titles in 2A DI, but the monster known as Canadian was there to send them home two years in a row. Things change in 2016 as Canadian moves out of 2A and Stratford now becomes a heavy favorite to win it all under Coach Matt Lovorn. Gage Brooks returns to the tailback and linebacker position along with Parker Hanna to form a dangerous combo for any team to deal with. Will their quarterbacking play be steady enough for the Elks to go to Dallas and play for a title against Refugio?
3. MEMPHIS CYCLONES
DISTRICT 2-2A DII- PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 2ND
Memphis will be on the hunt for a 2A DII Title this year and will make some noise with the return of the best running back in 2A, David Dickson. Nick Adame also returns to lead his troops along with Clifford Byrd at the wide receiver and defensive back spot. A deep team that plays a great non-district schedule to get ready for the grind of one of the deepest districts in the state with Wellington, Crosbyton, and Clarendon ready to defeat the Cyclones for the 2-2A DII crown. But for Memphis and Coach Woods a title in December is what they will be shooting for in 2016.
4. WELLINGTON SKYROCKETS
DISTRICT 2-2A DII: DISTRICT PROJECTED FINISH: 1ST
The Skyrockets look to boom back to the state title game in 2016, just like they did when they won it all behind Terry Gilbreath and company in 2013, in convincing fashion, I might add. Jose Tellez, Drake Welch, Luke Williams and Trevor Roberson anchor a loaded team again that doesn’t have to deal with Stratford or Canadian the next two years. Their district will be tough, but they can navigate it and win 2-2A DII, but how will they fare when they play either Crosbyton or Memphis for the second time around?
5. SEAGRAVES EAGLES
DISTRICT 4-2A DII PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 1ST
My question for the Eagles: Who is going to play quarterback this fall? Moving on along, this team returns Quashus Williams and Richard Longoria; two players that will definitely lead the charge for the Eagles this fall as they will be counted on to deliver all year for Seagraves. Coach Heryford’s team went to the 2A DII semifinals in back-to-back years and look to continue that dominance for years to come. This year it won’t be as easy since Memphis has closed the gap and Wellington is back in 2A DII..
6. NEW DEAL LIONS
DISTRCIT 2-2A DI PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 1ST
The Lions have a lot to do in 2016 as far as they are concerned. #1. They need to avenge the early playoff round loss in 2015 that still hunts them to this day. Going undefeated and getting knocked out by a #4 seed in the bi-district round is shocking, to say the least. #2 They need to find replacements for the departures of Marshall Rieken, Sebastian Hartless, and Jai Manahan; three players who went on to play college football or run college track this fall. #3 They need to make sure to keep up the momentum they have built up in the 7-on-7 success the Lions have had this summer. With Jaxson Durham and Mark Adams back on offense, and Brandon Coronado back on defense, they will be ready to roll in 2016. Winning a title, that will be a little bit tougher as they will be looking at Post and Stratford for supremacy in 2A DI.
7. CROSBYTON CHIEFTAINS
DISTRICT 2-2A DII- PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 3RD
Here is our third team from district 2-2A DII; that should tell you how deep that district runs. The Chieftains are no slouch and are used to winning district titles, it just will be really tough with Memphis and Wellington in there with them in 2-2A DII. With only five starters back this fall, the Chieftains will rely on Timothy Childers and his 1,447 yards and 59 tackles he posted last year. Let’s not forget the 196 receiving yards and eight sacks as well! But, will that be enough to challenge for a title?
8. PANHANDLE PANTHERS
DISTRICT 1-2A DI- PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 2ND
Panhandle knocked out New Deal last year in maybe the biggest upset in the playoffs in the bi-district round. This year, they won’t be able to sneak up on anyone in 2A. Honestly, it doesn’t matter as the Panthers should be right back in the playoffs and match up against Abernathy in the first round this year. 14 starters return to the gridiron for Panhandle led by Colby Neely and Layton Lamberson; two of the best combo players in West Texas. Panhandle may go two rounds deep this year, and that is great for the teams and competition in 2A DI.
9. SPRINGLAKE-EARTH WOLVERINES
DISTRICT 3-2A DII- PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 1ST
Michael DeLeon returns for the Wolverines and looks to cause more trouble for defenses like he did in his Junior campaign where he totaled 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns for his dads offense last fall. 16 starters are back and they are hungry to go deeper than they went last year in the playoffs when they were knocked out in the first round. Zack Juarez and James Sandoval will also contribute on both sides of the ball for Earth. All things considered, they should have an outstanding year.
10. FARWELL STEERS
DISTRICT 3-2A DII- PROJECTED DISTRICT FINISH: 2ND
The Steers should be in the thick of the 3-2A DII race in 2016, and also be a threat in the playoffs as they have experience coming back with the likes of Heath Hadley, Ethan Stancell, and Miguel Vasquez, who ready to roll for Farwell. Can they get by Springlake-Earth and Sudan in 3-2A DII?